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California Lawmakers Introduce New Legislation to Protect Fast Food Workers

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) joined lawmakers, restaurant workers, unions, and fast food worker leaders from Fight for 15 to rally in support of SB 476 introduced by Senator Monique Limón. The bill would change the state law that currently requires workers to pay for mandatory food safety training, so that employers must pay for the training and the workers’ time for completing the training. 

“Fast food workers are essential workers at the heart of the service industry and must be treated with respect,” said Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “That’s why I am proud to stand with SB 476 to ensure fast food workers have fair treatment and are able to provide for their families.”

“When the California Legislature created a training requirement for restaurant workers they did so believing that Californians could trust that training to advance the industry by ensuring employees could deliver a safer product for consumers. What we have learned since that bill was passed, is that an entity is directing worker wages to fund efforts against workers,” said Senator Monique Limón. “SB 476 protects workers, independent restaurants, and the industry by ensuring an entity is not misusing their hard-earned dollars.”

"Corporations in the restaurant industry have been running a racket to use workers' wages as a lobbying slush fund,” said Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, leader of the California Labor Federation.  "Food service workers involuntarily gave $25 million of their own money to fund their employers’ lobbying against wage increases, paid sick days, and pro-worker laws. SB 476 rights this wrong by putting an end to worker funding of corporate lobbying in California by requiring employers to pay for mandatory safety trainings, instead of putting that burden on the workers.”

"It's unconscionable that a requirement with the good intentions to keep workers and the public safe has turned into an underhanded way to fund lobbying against workers' best interests," said Amber Baur, executive director, UFCW Western States Council. "Workers trying to provide for their families cannot be forced to continue paying for this required food safety handling training when we now know the money goes directly to resisting raising the minimum wage and increasing paid sick leave. UFCW members are proud to support SB 476 to end this deceptive practice."

The bill is expected to be heard in a Senate policy committee in March or April of this year.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization. He represents the 54th District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Commerce, Montebello, and Vernon.